Crossroads: Women's Rights Through Drama

Crossroads Storyline

(Note the below refers to names and places for the Kenya drama. For other counries, names have been changed)

Mama Bahati’Mama Bahati and Rahas daughter Raha has been missing for three days. Mama Bahati is worried and suspects foul play on the part of her inlaws. They wanted Raha to be inherited by her late husband’s brother, and both Raha and Mama Bahati were against it. She has been asking around to friends and relatives, but no one knows anything. When she tries to report the matter to Inspector Tumbo, he brushes her off saying, ‘do you want Raha to be lonely without a man?’

On his way out of the station to hassle changa’a brewer Mama Sweety, Inspector Tumbo finds that a new Deputy has been posted to his station. He is unimpressed by Deputy Sifa’s neat appearance and military manner, and talks her down, telling her she is unable to work as a police officer because she is a woman. He finally assigns her simple clerical tasks and tells her that her job is to make coffee.

At the changa’a den, Mama Sweety begs Tumbo not to arrest her. He agrees to a bribe, which was all he was really after anyway, and she gives him some money and a bottle of her ‘special brew.’ After he leaves, Sweety’s cousin Tumaini stops by to ask for Sweety’s advice about Mama Bahati. She is afraid Mama Bahati’s husband will beat her to death. Sweety gives her a bottle of her ‘special brew’ as well and tells Tumaini that when Mama Bahati drinks it, she’ll have the power to solve her problems.

Tumaini gives Mama Bahati the drink and she falls over in a dead faint. Inspector Tumbo wakes the following morning to find he is now in Mama Bahati’s body. He cannot believe it’s real and runs to the station. At the station, Tim Taabu is reporting to Sifa that Mama Bahati is harassing him and his family. Mama Bahati (with Tumbo’s mind) runs into the station and heads straight for the chief’s office. When she tries to explain who she really is, Sifa threatens to have her taken to a mental hospital. Disheartened and confused, she leaves.

Inspector Tumbo (with Mama Bahati’s mind) comes in to the station. He isn’t sure what to do as a police officer, but knows he wants to find Raha. He tells Sifa to start looking into the case immediately. Sifa is surprised at his behaviour, but happy to be doing her job again.

At the market, Tumbo goes to Tumaini to tell her what’s happened. They are both shocked and excited. Before Tumbo can really begin the investigations in earnest, he is distracted by Tausi, who is pregnant by Tumbo and claims he was going to force her to get a backstreet abortion. Tumbo pleads with her to hold off and consider her options before doing something dangerous. Confused, she agrees for now.

Sifa goes to investigate the deserted Taabu compound to see if anything is amiss. She is caught by Tim, who threatens her softly about trespassing. Just before she leaves, she spots a piece of torn kanga and takes it with her as evidence. The next day the Taabu clan pays a visit to Tumbo, demanding to know why he is investigating. Mzee Taabu reveals that they paid Tumbo KSH10 000 to keep the case under wraps. They offer him more, and the enraged Tumbo orders them out of his office.

Meanwhile, Mama Bahati has been struggling to keep up with her daily duties. She does not know how to set herself up at the market, and the other market women tease her mercilessly. She is also being beaten regularly by Baba Bahati. One day, he comes home drunk and demands that she have sex with him. When she refuses, he overpowers and rapes her.

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